Used car dealers continued to avoid stocking higher-value premium used cars in May to help preserve their cash flow according to Aston Barclay.

Instead, they chose to bid on and buy high-value used cars at auction to satisfy customer orders to provide an instant profit margin whilst protecting cash flow.

Sixteen out of the top 20 used cars in Aston Barclay’s May desirability index were high-value premium models led by the Range Rover Velar. This included the Audi Q7 and A7, Mercedes GLC and GLE and Range Rover.

“Depending on age and mileage these premium cars, particularly the 4x4s and SUVs, can cost more than £50,000 which is why dealers are generally relying on auctions each time they have a customer order. That makes sound business sense, especially now many used cars are twice as expensive as they were pre-Covid,” explained Nick Thompson, director of sales.

“The hike in prices means some dealers are stocking fewer used cars which have meant focussing more attention on the speed of sale to ensure their forecourts retain healthy sales and profitability,” he added.

Only four used cars on the list were at the value end of the market with the Renault Zoe in second place, the Hyundai Kona in 13th, the Mazda MX5 in 16th and the Toyota Prius in 19th. There were two separate reasons for these specific cars being in the top 20 according to Thompson.

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“The Zoe, Kona and Prius are all established lower-value electric and hybrid models which dealers are prepared to stock ahead of more expensive hybrids and EVs. Our first few days of sun have also helped boost interest in the Mazda MX5 convertible.

“Dealers will stock lower value used cars until such time as used volumes improve and prices for large premium cars start to fall,” said Thompson.

Aston Barclay’s monthly index takes into consideration three key metrics: web views prior to sale, number of physical and online sale bids, and sale price achieved as a percentage of CAP average.

Discounts to appear on EVs, AFP delegates told